Thursday, 20 December 2012

Happy Christmas From Fluffy Biscuits :)


2012 was a rip roaring success. The blog has had about 4000 hits,a lot more than I thought so a big thank you to everyone who has read or contributed or commented. 2012 has seen the worsening of the economy, the rise of the far right, the push for legislation for the X-Case and a plethora of other changes in society. Looking to 2013 there is a lot more in store.
Some quick opinions:
Site of the year:
Going to go with which has become my home on the web. From the start it has always been welcoming and friendly. There are a lot of differing opinions and I dont see eye to eye with some people but that is just life! Many thanks to Cactus and the mods and users of the site whom have made the site a firm favourite of mine
Honourable Mentions:
Maman Poulet, Rabble, Indymedia, Red Pepper, Broadsheet, Guardian,, wikitravel
Worst Sites:
No time at all for, ruined with trolls IMO.
Dishonourable Mentions
Youth Defence Facebook page, MSN, RTE News

Hero of the Year:
Savia Hallenpalavar

Her death was not in vain, we all know the history behind it

Villans of the Year:
Take your pick! Labour/FG/Ronan Mullen

We here at Fluffy Biscuits wish you and yours a safe Christmas and a Happy New Year xx


Monday, 17 December 2012

The South African Far Right have not gone away...

Federal Freedom Party (FFP) is a relatively new group or party that has been operating for some time in South Africa. Their prime aim is to have self determination for Afrikaaner whites in South Africa. Two members of the group were arrested in the last day or two along with two other roght wing extremists after planning to blow up a meeting of the main ANC party which is South Africas ruling party. The FFP released a statement to say that

"We are a political party, not a military organisation," national secretary Francois Cloete said.

"They are innocent until proven guilty, but our party doesn't stand for acts of terrorism."

This is not the first time though that extremists have been arrested for plotting against the South African state.

In July, a former university lecturer was found guilty of orchestrating a 2002 plot aimed at assassinating Mandela, overthrowing the ANC and driving South Africa's black majority out of the country.

Media Bias - Conneticut Shootings/Children Killed in Pakistan Drone Strike

What is the measuring stick with which to measure the bias that is evident in the media these days? Through the Huffington Post I found out that there have been 176 children killed because of US Drone Strikes in and around Pakistan but none of this makes the main stream news. ( Nothing mentioned on most of the major news sites:

BBC and Reuters have no mentions from the results of the drone strikes and CNN gives it a cursory mention. Contrast this with the Conneticut shootings and they are front page on all of the news sites. Is one life less valuable than another?

Monumental Fuck Up from Israeli Embassy in Ireland

Why is this not surprising?

Broadsheet reports here:

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Psychology of Identity and Nationalism

Identity is a key cornerstone of any person and forms a central part in helping a person to place themselves in society. People will ask who they are from the time they are very young and will take on various cultural aspects to their psyche that they use to create an identity.

We choose to identify with a particular identity or group. Sometimes we have more choice than others. This chunk will address the relative importance of structures, the forces beyond our control which shape our identities, and agency, the degree of control which we ourselves can exert over who we are. 

although as individuals we have to take up identities actively, those identities are necessarily the product of the society in which we live and our relationship with others.

This brings me to the question how does nationalism and identity fit in together? Notions such as borders and countries create a shared and common collective conciousness and invariably this leads to the banding of people together from everyone such as travellers to Irish nationalists to loyalists, from Dubliners to country people, identity creates these groups with common bonds. Nationalism stems from one group with a collective conciousness that want to control for themselves as a group . These groups are more than likely to work together to compromise for the best deal for themselves as a group rather than individuals.

 The research on cultural differences in thinking suggests that the patterns of differences that have been found are related to the distinction between individualist and collectivist cultures. That is, members of collectivist cultures tend to exhibit behaviors like being likely to compromise and for their memory for objects to be influenced by context. Members of individualist cultures show a preference for one side or the other of a debate rather than compromise, and their memory tends to be uninfluenced by culture.

Regarding the issue in Belfast with the British flag over city hall and Unionists feeling aggreived at it it only being flown 15 days of the year, are nationalists and unionists collectivist cultural groups or individualistic? The Alliance party put forward a motion to keep the butchers apron flying a few days a year while one side of the argument seemed to react in extremis nearly storming city hall. SF the Guardian seems to think that this is some sort of passive move to split the Unionist identity and perhaps make them lose confidence in Unionism:

Sinn Fein's desire to see the union flag removed from the city hall may not be written into its manifesto – but it is abundantly clear in its passive-aggressive politicking that this is an orchestrated tactic. The message is obvious: destroy unionist and loyalist confidence and the rest will follow. In fact, the message hasn't changed that much since the summer of 1971, when the then Sinn Fein president Ruairi O'Bradaigh claimed: "We're on a high road to freedom, and what we need to do now is to rock Stormont and to keep it rocking until Stormont comes down."

Through manipulation of identity on a psychological level a lot of parties are building their support by telling people they must pledge allegience to either one side of the argument or another. As per Sideys "Im either Irish or Im not" rhetoric it fails to take into account that there are numerous grey areas in between . Some of us may see ourselves as being European , some of us may simply see ourselves as being part of humanity or some us are just simple products of a capitalist regime .

Bishops go nuts over Marion Rosenstock sketch

Not content with years of rape, helping to crush womens rights and teaching generations of school children fiction and not having to pay a penny in damages, the church is now up in arms over a Mario Rosenstock sketch.An association of cat-licky bishops wrote to RTE. About the complaint:

It specifically is in relation to a sketch which mentions the Olympic boxing medal winner Katie Taylor (who is not shown in the sketch), and “shows a man spitting into a bucket before receiving Holy Communion”. The complaint and calls this “grossly offensive to all Catholics”

Paralysed Woman looks for right to die in Ireland.

Marie Fleming who is suffering from MS is seeking the right to die in Ireland. Mrs Fleming registered a few years back with Dignitas as a patient but was talked out of it by her husband. A solictor has been engaged to work on her behalf to challenge the ban on assisted suicide and that the prevention of her right to die is an infringement of her dignity and autonomy.The court has ruled on such a situation before:

In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled that the right to die included the right to die a dignified and natural death in a case involving a woman who had been in a near-persistent vegetative state for more than 20 years. 
People who are in the legal definition "compos mentis" should have at their disposal all tools to enable them to die as they see fit. Such a choice rests with the person alone and no one else and those who aid them in situations where it is not murder or under duress should be free from legal reprecussion. The opinion of two doctos perhaps sought and a psychologist to ensure that the decision is entirely voluntary. We have DNR's already in Ireland as part of the legal framework, the right to die should be included too.

Canadian Govt Sells Its Soul for More Dollars...

Leaked documents obtained by Canadian Broadcaster CBC, that were marked highly classified have shown that the Canadian governent is selling itself. The document mentions the opening up of trade with Asia and South America and places less emphasis on dealing with the US with its volatile economy at the moment. Africa is also mentioned as being one of the areas with the biggest middle class spenders in the world and is set to explode. While the document mentions links to trading the document fails to take into account numerous aid work done (Haiti) and diplomatic work to pressure nations with appaling human rights records into creating better conditions.

CBC quoting Canadaian Primeminister Stephen Harper in 2006:

"I think Canadians want us to promote our trade relations worldwide and we do that," the prime minister said in November, 2006. "But I don't think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values, our belief in democracy, freedom, human rights. They don't want to sell that out to the almighty dollar."

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

European Far Right Update #1

Going to be an update on the blog once a week on the far right with a few links and notes on what they are up to in Europe...

Ethnnos in Greece reports on the lack of investigations on the links between far right Golden Dawn and members of the Greek police force. ( - links in Greek thanks to Ephilant on Politicalworld for the translations) . Despite the lack of investigations there is a lot of claims (in the hundreds) of police brutality.

Meanwhile in France, Sarkozys party are deeply divided over the leadership for his former position as head of the party. Daily Mail (or wail?) reporting on the divisions in the party

Would love nothing better than to see the French party of Sarko implode...

Turn Letterkenny into "An Irish Amsterdam"...

Donegal at the moment has the record as the county with the highest amount of unemployment at the moment. As it stands the rate of unemployment stands at 26.2 % compared to roughly 12% in 2006 in the boom times (Source: . On top of this there is a lot of NAMA property in the area ( so the area is a prime area where there is going to be a high rate of emmigration and lack of opportunity. Im proposing the following.

The population of Letterkenny is approx 19,500 thousand people and there is an airport in Derry (1/2 hr away) and there is Donegal Carrickfinn Airport (1 Hour away). Killybegs could also be used as a ferry service. A series of co-ops could set up businesses and seek the legalisation of cannabis and weed, prostitution and the setting up of some more pubs and accommodation however all in the control of local people under a co-operative model. Using abandoned NAMA buildings we could create a strong theatre scene, arts scene, film scene and a base from which to explore the area surrounding which has a national park and a base from which to explore the surrounding area.

A part of the locality could be used to create a University with links to insitutes around the world for looking at nanotechnology, renewable energy, genetic engineering, food production. There are strong swells around the coast that can be used to look at membrane technology and the land surrounding is perfect for looking into crops that are to grow in hardy conditions. The whole town could be self sufficient through heaters and greenhouses powered by solar energy.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Women getting a bad deal from the courts....

I just wanted to look at the over all picture in the Irish justice system in light of some recent cases. Recent cases have seen perpetrators of attacks being let go with suspended sentences, paying fines or partially both with the Lyons case being the most famous one. In one instance there was a case of an alleged rape victim being arrested for not testifying in court (this even made the headlines in the Guardian).

Anthony Lyons was told to pay a €75k fine and then told he was only serving six months of a six year sentence as he was at low risk of offending. In November of this year gone by Eamon Harkin beat his girlfriend badly and only refrained from it during the ninety minute beating so he could have a glass of water. Harkin got 240 hours community service in lieu of a two year suspended sentence.

The most shocking however comes from three cases which were presided over by a judge Martin Nolan and all three cases IMO the attacker gets a lenient sentence. The first involved a Graham Griffin was a 29 year old from Louth who attacked a 17 year old girl. Griffin told the gardai that he was under some sort of "magnetic force" and blamed the hormones . He was handed a suspended four year sentence. The second case involves a Thoms Finn who attacked his neighbour while her deah elderly father was inside his house. The victim lost conciousness and when on the ground Finn continued on kicking the victim and was later told that he could escape jail if he paid the victim €3000 compensation which was described as "a token of remorse". Lastly a Jane Ruffino told the media she felt down by the media after her attacker escaped jail when he was told to pay €5000 and this would mean he would get a suspended sentence.

The above clearly shows that the justice system is letting down women and not only that the political system to boot but the former is not as noticeable as the latter. We have a male orientatied establishment that seems to take no notice of how women are treated and women can still be considered second class citizens in this country. We need to change the system and do a root and branch clear out of the judicial system . Nolans sentences are not satisfactory at all IMO, something that I, if I were a woman, would take issue with.


Many thanks to Alison at IFN for her help on this

We Need a General Strike - NOW!

There does come a time when the workers here need to assert themselves and take back what is rightfully their's. The anti-austerity march yesterday was the start or perhaps should be the start of something that we can build upon. Everyone from trade unions to single parents to unemployed to travellers groups all got out and showed their displeasure with the current situation and the need to fight back. On the back of the sentiment at the moment we should be calling for an all out general strike.

Following on from Irish Revolutions suggestion on twitter I would ask people to start supporting a general strike with the hashtag #generalstrike on twitter and get it trending. Once we have support for a general strike we can look into organising a date perhaps in January . Grassroots movements such as community organisations and unions work to have their members mobilised and staff do not attend work. On Monday there will be a motion at my unions AGM calling for a general strike and would urge anyone else in the same position to do the same. Regardless of political affiliation there is nothing employers can do if whole work places down tools and fight as one unit to battle against the cuts being imposed on us by this government, we have to fight or continue to struggle going from one week to the next , pay packet to pay packet. Some of you have already been driven out of your homeland, your parents and families, your kids and friends. A lot of us are struggling to make ends meet and what for? Our indifference will lead to our downfall.

Here is what to do.

- Use the hashtag #generalstrike to call for a general strike
- Link to this thread
- Raise the issue with unions and at your agms
- Get local communities involved.

We need to fight this. If you are in anyway critical at least make it constructive

Update:Union will not support the using of money ear marked for delegates expenses for CAHWT. No motion for general strike....


Friday, 16 November 2012

Airbone Transmission Ebola

Scientists studying the latest outbreak of Ebola have discovered that the new strain in Uganda may be airborne. An experiement placed eight monkeys seperated by a cage with a pig that had been infected with Ebola Zaire nearby. After a couple of days, the monkeys had contracted the disease with the only transmission path being via the pig itself. It had been thought that the virus was present in the wild in its natural reservoir, the fruit bat.

A similar scenario was played out in the film "Outbreak" with Dustin Hoffman, read more here on the BBC News site...

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Death of Savita Halappanavar - An Indictment of Irish Society

The death of Savita Halappanavar brings into the fray urgent legislation to legislate for the X Case but not only that raises a number of issue at the centre of Irish society most notably religious extremism, lack of adequate governance from the ruling coalition, a failed health system and the oppression of women in Irish society. All four of these aspects are featured from this case and this blog post will explore all four aspects in some detail.

Savita Halappanavar died in October 2012 in Galway Roscommon Univerisity Hospital as a result of scepetcimia which she contracted. Three days earlier Savita had visited the hospital in pain and to seek the termination of the foetus which had been causing pain . Doctors listened to the heartbeat of the foetus and as it had a heartbeat it was deemed to be alive and therefore no medical procedure could be carried out. Three days later, after several examinations of the foetus it was found to have died and the resulting body was removed. During this it had been found that Mrs Halappanavar had a dilated cervix and was leaking animotic fluid . The Guardian takes up the story here ( and summarises what happened:

She died of septicaemia and E Coli. She died after three and a half days of excruciating pain. She died after repeatedly begging for an end to the pregnancy that was poisoning her. Her death would have been avoided if she had been given an abortion when she asked for it – when it was clear she was miscarrying, and that non-intervention would put her at risk.

Savita Halappanavar did not have to die in vain. The government and past successive governments since the X Case have failed to legislate adequately for such an occasion . The X Case was brought before the courts when a 14 year old girl, known only as X, was brought to court to prevent her going to England for an abortion due to a pregnancy from being raped by a neighbour. The Attorney General at the time,Harry Whelehan successfully got an injunction at the high court but this was turned over on appeal at the Supreme Court by a majority of four to one. It was ruled that a woman was entitled to an abortion if there was risk to her life but not to her health. As X was suicidal, this criteria was deemed to be constituting a risk to her life so X was allowed to go to England for an abortion. Since this, the governments of successive years have failed to legislate for the case and as such may be in breach of European law.

Part of the reason that the government has not legislated for it is that there is a certain conservative element within the Irish government, most notably in Fine Gael whom are still rooted in old school conservative Ireland in their politics. Only recently 15 TD’s spoke out against any proposals by the government to liberalise any of the laws on abortion and sought assurances from the government that such legislation would never pass. There is no question over certain members attitudes to abortion within the party when you consider that people like Gay Mitchell have made remarks (which they later say they regretted) which compared abortions to the Holocaust. In statements that were again brought under the microscope before the recent presidential elections, Mitchell was reminded of remarks he had made in 1998 in which he said (speaking of concentration camps) “children [were] poisoned by educated physicians, infants killed by trained nurses” to which was added ““could easily apply to the millions of abortions which needlessly take place year after year”. This religious element is not only to be found in the government. Savida’s husband told the media that when his wife sought an abortion, he was told that they could not give one as Ireland was a Catholic country. Youth Defence even at the time of writing this article are quick enough to hop on the bandwagon, according to ( (in what surely must be a fairly ironic)

Youth Defence said that journalists – whom they did not identify – had been “rushing to pre-empt those investigations when they are not in full possession of the facts”.

Its statement said: “According to the information that is available, it seems that a delay in administering antibiotics may have been the cause of the septicaemia which tragically led to her death.

In other words they are telling us that journalists are not in full possession of the facts and they must be by telling us that it seems the antibiotics not being administered may have been the cause? Do Youth Defence not think they should have the full facts also?

The health system itself, being badly managed due to lack of clear direction and grey areas over the law could have done a lot more to address the situation that Savida found herself in. Doctors in similar situations in Ireland may be worried about the possible legal implications regarding carrying out such an abortion in the country. With no legislation or guidance in place, doctors are more or less left in legal limbo as to what direction to take on the matter. A young woman lost her life as there was no clear instructions in what to do in such a situation, which brings me to my last point.

Savida was denied the opportunity to be in control of her own body. The state has no business telling a woman what she can or cannot do with her body up to a certain point when it is carrying a foetus. Savida has requested a termination of the foetus to alleviate her suffering but this was ignored and in retrospect, this was a breach of her rights as a woman to do what she wanted with her body. Considering the gender quota that is in place at the moment in government, it is mostly men that are making the decisions,scary thought that men are mostly making the decisions for a woman and how she should live her life .

It is quite clear that the government, the health services and other agents of society that are meant to protect a womans life failed. To what extent is not quite clear but what is clear is this, there is one grieving husband looking for answers.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Correlation Between Religious Belief and Education


See page 13 and the following paragraph...

Persons with no religion (including Atheists and
Agnostics) had higher levels of education than the
general population, as illustrated in the graph on the left.
They were more than twice as likely to have a
postgraduate degree or diploma compared with the
general population (17.1% and 8.2% respectively) and
more than half (56%) had a third level qualification
compared with 35.5 per cent of the general population.

What would this say to you? Im not commenting as my bias is well known but just to open the floor for comments. ....

If we take into account that perhaps there is no link at all between the two at all and that access to education was limited in the sixties at the peak of the RCC golden age. Now that we are aware of the abuses of the church and that there is a lot more people going to college it may have been a skewered interpretation that some people took when looking at the data. Its fascinating the two topics in themselves, the correlation between the data and what is the conclusion, does religion itself come with a low standard of education (Its inconclusive) and the other seperate topic of how a preconceived notion will mean that different inferrences are drawn from the data.

Belarus - Inside Europes Last Dictatorship

Reporter Brian Whelan has written some extensive articles on fascists and right wing extremists here and in the UK and Europe. In line with that he has written an excellent article on the dictatorship of Aleksander Lukashenko, often referred to as Europes last dictator who has been in power since 1994. Opposition parties are banned and gatherings are tightly controlled, even handing out opposition literature is frowned upon and can result in jail sentences. The regime has a lot of blessing from Russia with a lot of Russian owned businesses in the region and these have become a target for anarchists. Recently at a punk gig, a hundred fans were arrested in a development that does not seem to have hit main stream headlines. Anarchists are being treated like scum and sent to labour camps for speaking agianst the autocracy. More information here...

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Radical Politics - What are you scared of?

Radical politics have come in for a lot of criticism recently from all sections of society including both the left and the right from where they see it as being somewhat too grandiose and idea and the very people who think radically are attached with some sort of stigma that follows them for being involved in radical politics. The left seem to believe that we are selling out our sovereignty and the right has come to the conclusion that such right politics are the preserve of loony lefties intent on some sort of anarchy to disrupt society, the centre remains indifferent and will do whatever gets them votes. Republicanism seems to have a chip on its shoulder with radical politics and this comes as surprising seen as the radicalism that has come out of Republicanism with its violent past. Republicanism was radical at one stage and has since run out of fuel .

Radicalism offers a solution to the problems we are facing and by looking at the other philosophies in place we can look at the perhaps the best ideaologies and what applications these may have to providing a radical solution to the future we are faced with.

Communitarianism is a dirty word in the circles of radical politics. Often it is associated with authoritarian regimes however some of the principles it guarantees are basic rights that we should enshrine in good old Bunreacht na H-Eireann such as access to healthcare, education but most importantly the right to work . Jobs have been seen to be a privilege, how often has it been heard by the dog on the street that “You’re lucky to have a job” as if it some reward. Communitarianism is built on the basis that communities should mould the individual which then pushes the common good for all concerned. Ireland at the moment is experiencing something of a crass indivudualisation with a heavy dollop of materialism that is creating no social movement and breathing apathy. The comparison with authoritarianism is idiotic In the extreme as authoritarinsim is accompanied by use of violence to co-erce a people into a way of thinking or subduing them as is being done by the democratically elected government of Greece. Working together as a community ensures that we all benefit and working together casts of the shackles of capitalism to ensure a fair world. This is done through the use of community projects or solidarity as exemplified by the Campaign Against Household Waste or other similar movements that galvinise a community together in the face of financial oppression.

Through Progressivism we can achieve a more democratic orientaited society that is built by the people for the people. Too often we are left with the faceless bureaucrats or politicians lining their own pockets for their own benefits,we need a system which will benefit us , the people to empower ourselves and take back the structures of society back so that we can run things as a collective society. A lot of progressives made great inroads in the inner city deprived areas of Chicago where welfare reforms were set up and social workers and properly trained people were put in place to address the issues that they were faced with. These included back to work programmes, back to education programmes and the creation of a programme where children were guaranteed at least one meal a day . Labour laws which were very anti child were reformed to ensure that those whom were the most vunerable in society were changed so that they got an education and matured so they could benefit importantly themselves and then secondly society as a whole. Following on from this there was more of an empowerment of unions which worked for the people as in complete contrast to now where they are agents of the bourgoise and work for no one but themselves.

Finally the one thing we need to do to effect change is anarcho-pacifism and a revolution. Anrchopacifism is the use of non violent means in order to achieve this as so used by Ghandi to great effect. Mass strikes, boycotts, cyber anarchy , actually anything that disrupts society . This needs to coincide with a revolution in the way we think. We need to revolutionise the the thinking of the proletariat in this country to crack the corridors of power that are in existence. Seems awfully romantic how it is phrased but it’s the truth.

Radicalism is not a dirty word, it’s a way of thinking. Don’t be scared by it, think outside the box….

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Are the Irish lacking Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence deals with our ability to deal with the emotions we experience. In Ireland while we are academically gifted and are well known in the arts world for our creativity do we lack any emotional intelligence? The ability model deals with four types of models in regards to emotional intelligence. Wikipedia explains it all pretty good:

1.Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one's own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
2.Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
3.Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
4.Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.

Irish society as a whole has failed to really become emotionally mature. In any society we learn from a hierarchy, those whom are in charge as to what becomes the norm in society and these norms dictate how we act. From the top we see a lack of all four models above. The bank bailout illustrates this point perfectly.

Perceiving emotions - Enda Kenny and the govt are out of touch with the effects that the cuts are having on us at the moment. Joan Burtons cuts and the imposition of cuts in terms of hosuehold taxes and water charges bring to the fray that we are more focused on monetary gain than understanding the emotions of the public.

Using emotions - these emotions will control us if we dont control them however we are also to use emotions to help us to problem solve and reach a conclusion. FG have been cold to the touch, they have completely being impartial in dealing with the EU and seeking teh bank bailout. There has been no emotion used in the decision again all financial dealings have lead to this.

Understanding the emotions - this ties in with the first point. At what point do we realise the needs of the people as opposed to the needs of the banks?

Manage emotions - indifference itself is an emotion IMO. How do we handle it ?We dont we seem to be too laid back any lack any fire. There is a lot of this passive aggressive bullshit floating about how do we direct our energies and bring about the revolution?

For too long from the RCC all the way up to lack of compassion from the banks and government we have become too lacking in emotional intelligence, its going to contribute to our downfall...

A New Party for Ireland

We set up a new party, what do we do that is practical?

-Burn the bondholders
-Prosecute those for financial treason
-Ensure banks are run to a new standard
-Increase tax on those earning over €100k a year
-New centralised democracy
-Voting age lowered to 16
-Encourage mutual co-ops
-Grants to start new businesses
-Look at renewable energy
-Improve rights for minorities in Ireland
-Health system that is free or low cost
-Subsidised child care
-Rehabilitation programmes for those with criminal records, the lock them up and throw away the key approach does not work
-Ensure multinationals here sign a document ensuring that they engage in ethically sound practices around the world
-More links between the people of Europe
-Discussion on the NI Question,can we come to a solution?
-Specific secondary schools that teach only foreign languages, Irish,Maths and English
-To boost our universities into the top 10 in the world
-Invest money into research and design - especially science and technology
-Build links with the working class movement in Britian
-Secularise the constitution
-Entrust patronage of ALL schools to a Board of Management
-System to take civil action against orders vicariously acted in child abuse
-Ensure the Vatican plays a role in the above]
-Removal of religion from all schools
-Bring in the right to die
-Legalise abortion
-Ensure those on social welfare have a net to secure them when they lose jobs - perhaps subsidise their wage in their job till new job can be found?
-Proper training courses for the unemployed but give them a wide choice of what they want to do.
-Abandoning the jobsbridge scheme (slave labour)
-Build a stronger Galetacht linked to language learning
-Encourage Protestants to move down from the North
-Give the right to vote to our emmigrants
-Stronger agricultural base to diversify food production
-A series of local projects to grow foods such as bananas, grapes etc.
-Start up a burgeoning wine industry?
-Lower tax threshold for artists.

Thats just a start....

Saturday, 13 October 2012

The Gay Communities Failure to Politically Engage

There have been a number of times that the gay community have urged for better rights and only two weeks ago a woman got up on stage and spoke about how she identifies as being a queer woman and the pro choice groups should work with them. It was ironic in a way as there has been little or no political engagement from the gay community when it comes to politics with the gay community (of which Im a member) failing to engage with the parties in Ireland to encourage a change and promote closer ties with the political parties.Gay pride acts as an outlet for the gay community to have a party and to engage with the political establishment but they seem more intent on doing the former than doing the latter. Labour, Sinn Fein and the ULA al have a strong presence with gay groups marching and always advocating better rights and the right in Ireland do not appear to be interested as much and are more intent on either blocking gay friendly legislation like gay marriage or ignoring it completely.

How is the issue solved? People whom are seen as lights on the gay scene and seen as being leaders of the gay civil rights movement in Ireland have been utter failures so far to engage and need to promote the idea of better rights through political engagement. If we joined parties such as the ULA, propose laws and fight fire with fire with people on the far right who keep their foot on our throats we may be successful . No amount of marching with pink whistles or blaring Kylie is going to help.

Is Latin American Socialism a Success?

Chavez's recent election as president of Venezuela further underlined that the people in Caracas see socialism as the answer to some of their woes and not all but over all is it a success?

Socialism in South America could be considered to have started with Simon Bolivar, the revolutionary who drove the Spanish out of South America and established Gran Colombia in what is now modern day Colombia and Venezuela. Bolivar was influenced by the French Revolution and by the American Independence movement which he greatly admired and thought to have been one of the greatest political movements. From these admirations he established a number of ideas which formed the basis for modern Latin America and which would go on to influence Che Guevara and others rights up to Chavez. Bolivars legacy however while one of liberation was also one of a dictatorship. Bolivar himself feared being ruled by those of a mixed race which may have lead to him assuming a dictatorship. Aside from all this though, one of Bolivars most enduring ideas is that of a pan American federation of South American states to fight against imperialism and establish a system with good education, health system and legal system.

Fast foward sixty odd years and Che Guevara enters the frame. The idea of a pan American united front appealed to Che so much so that he was considered the ultimate revolutonary. Through his activities in Bolivia and Venezuela and not withstanding Cuba , his visions are seen to have been crucial in socialism in Latin America. Che can be single handedly attributed with bolstering the health system in Cuba and improving literacy with most Cubans now having a degree of some sorts.

After Che though Socialism seems to have fallen apart some what in Latin America. Numerous dictatorships posted up with various puppet governments and most notably now with Chavez who is an abject failure. There is a huge poverty in Venezuela with no job creation and people are only getting by through subsidised food. A glaring gaping hole in the national finances is being plugged by oil money ! Is this socialism proper? Are the workers being united through struggle?

Brazil, long disassociated from the Pan American idea as they are Portugese speaking and see such ideas as foreign have sold themselves out. Dima Roussef is a politician who is centre left however a lot of her policies have seen her move somewhat to the right. A dam construction project in the Amazon has been beset by workers rights issues and long hours for very little pay ( . Her environmental policies and rights on LGBT are leaving a lot to be desired.

Would Che be spinning in his grave?...


Monday, 24 September 2012

School Bullying - How to Stop and Consequences?

The tragic death of suicide from bullying of a young school girl from bullying illustrates again the failure of society to address the issues that affect young people in what can only be described as a dog eat dog world. The young girl in this case was left messages telling her she was fat and other assorted messages to try and demoralise the girl and create an insecure being who can then be used as a lever to propel some insecure bully whom more than likely projects his or her insecurities in the hope of feeling better if somewhat only temporarily. Teenage years are the most tumultuous for a young person growing up and the biggest influence in these years more often than not tends to be our peers ( ) so we see them as being mort important in society than family and other older figures, some of whom may have been revered when teenagers were children.

Not often that I open up about my own school years but as someone who suffered at the hands of bullies for years , its easy to feel an affinity to the victim mentioned in the article. For years I was bullied because of my weight and this was justified as I remember someone telling me “I deserve it” and could not provide any justification what so ever. There was a dark cloud over me for a while which clouded me as a person and nearly drove me to suicide but it was thanks to my parents and support that I came through the other side . Compared to others I had a relatively easy enough recovery and after finishing school in 1999 I worked for two years before going to college in 2001 and eleven years on I have not looked back. There was an image in my head that I did not belong, that my whole existence in my formative years  was a burden on other people but all this changed. Society means we have to either fit other niches created by other people or create our own, we all form part of society in its system. I found friends, a place in the world and to this day Im now happy.

How do you solve a situation like bullying? Invariably kids are going to be kids and kids are going to bully, that is a behaviour that has become a societal norm and we need to change this attitude, attitudes can be changed. There are a number of initiatives I have seen in schools to fight against bullying and addressing the issue but we need to be more pro active. Often children in school will have a hierarchy of peers, these are people whom children will look up to and form alliances, if you are outside this alliance then this is when the issues occur. Target these peers whom are at the top of the group, give them some awareness and show them the consquences of their actions, if necessary organise a school trip to visit the families of those afflicted with suicide because of this. This will have a trickle down effect over the school year and while a child may not fit in certainly he will not be targeted as much I believe by his peers. It will take a lot of work with the authorities, school, parents and pupils but it can be done.

Friday, 21 September 2012

A Serious Irish Condition - Political Apathy

Two articles above show the level of apathy that is so prominent in Europe and a malaise that has hit Ireland hard. In the first a number of people in Guernsey were asked about local politics and out of those asked a good proportion showed a high level of ignorance. The second article is more or less a piece on why young people are indifferent to politics. From reading the article its almost easy to assume that they dont vote as its seen as being boring ? Its a daming indictment that people like vacous celebreties have more sway over my generation than the political establishment. What explains this level of apathy though?

While researching last night I came across the following thesis from the University of Southampton

The main reasons from what I can gather are for political apathy is

-People being content with their current situation.

Well the establishment and the upper class (bourgoise?) are not going to rock the boat. They know they have it made on the back fo the Celtic Tiger.

-Generational Gap

Society is somehow disconnected. There is a lack of communication between the generations, between the workers and others on the fringes and peripheral of society.


People who are willing to challenge the elite but are not guided by the elite. These people are materialistic and often there is more a case of looking after the individual. This is a particular issue especially after the Celtic Tiger ended and we all ended up fighting . Very little humanity left.

-New style of politics

There is a shift away from the ballot box and a move to things like petitions. This is not getting involved however.

Lastly there seems to be a view that politics is something of the upper echelons of society, it does not seem to be something involving the lower strata of society and seems to be reinforced here in Ireland today. FF/FG and and their preference for the business calass while Labour seem to be mopping up the local liberal vote and slapping the face off those on welfare (I mean how further from the working class can they get with that?).

All of this has fractured democracy, how do we repair it?

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Oktoberfest Free in Dublin! ...Oh Wait.......

We here at Fluffy Biscuits love our beer (not as much as our fluffy biscuits mind) but the following came to our attention a few days ago after we spotted this . Oktoberfest is held in town every year the last few years and attracts a big enough crowd. The beer is a tad over priced (what is'nt in this country) and I was delighted to see the following...

That is correct its a free event for everyone! We thought, quids in, its going to be free! Rejoice German Beer lovers but then we sniffed around the site...

So that is a six quid charge for food and to buy beer after ten pm?..Free event for everyone up until 10pm?...Think its back to the offo and settle down in front of the TV me thinks....

Friday, 14 September 2012

Abercrombie & Fitch Open in Dublin - Would You Want to Work for them based on this?

Abercrombie and Fitch (A & F) the huge American retail outlet is to open its first Irish branch soon in Dublin on the old Bank of Ireland building in Dublin's College Green. Already there is a huge bill board with a model standing out and a lot of people are eager to get their hands on their gear which is proving very popular amongst Dublin's haute coutour aware youth eager for the latest hoodie and top. Over the years though, A & F have been embroiled in a number of storms from being hauled through the courts for accusations it hid back room staff whom were non white to the treatment of staff in the sweat shops ithat manufacture their goods n the Phillipenes. The Irish Times published an article recently which highlighted the issues surrounding employment. It goes on..

This notion that only good-looking people need apply has done the company no favours in recent years, and its employment policies have led to a number of court cases. In 2009 a former employee of a London store took it to an employment tribunal claiming she had been forced to work in the stockroom because she didn’t match the company’s strict “look policy”, a guide to the appearance of its shop-floor staff. She was born with the lower part of her arm missing. She won the case, and A&F had to pay her £8,000.

A much more damaging action was taken against the company in the US in 2003. Several Hispanic, black and Asian employees and applicants sued the company saying they had been put into less visible backroom jobs. The company disputed the claims but settled in 2005. As part of the deal it agreed to pay more than €30 million to black and Hispanic groups across the US while admitting no wrongdoing.

A&F hired a diversity officer to increase its share of the workforce from 10% being minorities in 2004 to now having approx 50% of its workforce being from minorities. The issues above are not confined however to people whom may work in its branches, there has been accusations that the company's suppliers have ill treated staff that manufacture goods for A & F

Labour carried the news that the Alta Mode factory, where A & F clothing is made, has done its best to stifle the rights of workers whom sought to form a Union. The workers at the factory were looking for better rights but Alta Mode thought differently and suspended the workers and even had the audacity to bring a case against them in what was a flagrant breach of the workers rights to form a union without being subject to harassement for such actions.

However all may not be lost for such a big brand as they recently bowed to pressure to stop using cotton from Afghanistan thanks to the a petition by the International Labour Rights Forum. A petition calling on A & F proved successful to the point that they bowed to pressure and stopped using cotton from child labourers in Uzbekistan ( They may have been a bit behind though with the times and only caught up as other companies had signed up and installed policies to deal with such issues.

While over 65 of the world’s largest apparel brands and retailers have developed policies related to Uzbek cotton, two companies have remained silent.

One of these the site alleges was A & F until they signed up.

Next time someone goes shopping for Abercrombie and Fitch in Dublin, think of the rights that people have and where your clothing was made. Was it made ethically? Would you like to work in a company with such policies?

Ponder for a minute, would you work somewhere where the staff recruited seem to be just models?

There is a "style guide" that hiring managers get to see. It contains almost no text - just a few dozen pages, each with a full-sized color photograph of different ethnicities - a male and a female for each. They are supposed to serve as examples of the kind of people you should hire. Presumably so the managers will know what good-looking minorities look like. They're amongst the confidential files that are never meant to leave the office, but I'm surprised none have ever surfaced

In 2009 the Guardian reported on the flagship store in Saville Row in London where is seemed so out of place with all of the other shops. Benoit Denizet-Lewis who does article for the NYT magazine tells the Guradian ( that Mike Jeffries (CEO of A & F) came out with the following line when he interviewed him:
"We go after the attractive, all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong."

Wonder what would happen if this 23st lump of lard walked brazenly in and demanded a job. I could include on the application "I have the body of a God"...just neglect to tell them its a body like this...

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Shell Shock

Thought this would be something worth mentioning as it could explain a lot about from a military background and why they tend to be more often than others to suffer from mental issues. While watching Who Do You Think You Are last night , Patrick Steward spoke about his father who was abusive to his mother but he never understood why. As the programme went on researching his family history it became clear that his father was suffering shell shock having seen all sorts of sights of children being blown to bits in World War Two.Psychologically now days this is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with soldiers having seen all sorts of horrors of war later leading them to find it hard to readjust to civilian life. Some of the after effects are flashbacks, violence, irrational thoughts and physcial manifestations of psychological sympthoms (such as someone thinking they are on fire when they are not etc.) Patrick Stewart learnt that his father was not angry before he went to war but he came back a changed man. Irish soldiers might also be deemed to be at risk from this as the Dept of Defence has allegedly set apart some of its budget for compensations claims for it as part of a €6m fund to deal with personal injury claims. The last website in the referneces below saysThe Department of Defence has also factored into their compensation budget an allocation for post traumatic stress disorder as well as an increase for the most common types of compensation claim – personal injuries arising from traffic accidents, occupational personal injuries, and administrative law cases in areas such as promotion and disciplinary action.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Campaigners from RISE ( Rural Ireland Says Enough) have been asking the government to get them to over turn the ban on the Union Ward Hunt. Simon Covney has moved to reassure them that there will be no bans on hunting in the new bill (there wouldnt be, there may besome TD's who have an interest in hunting). A spokesman for Hunting Association Ireland said

What we are concerned about at the moment is the Animal Welfare Act that is coming down the line. Minister Simon Coveney has committed to us that there will not be any measures in the Act that will prevent hunting in Ireland.

On the other hand Animal Rights Action Network are calling for a repeal of hunting and that there be psychiatric evaluations in the cases where there is cruelty to animals. This makes perfect sense as those with an aversion to treating animals cruelly are usually desensetised so humans are seen as pretty much a progression in the next step. Protests are going to be held in the next while..

Does the strife and tension in the world at the moment a sign Capitalism is not working?

Capitalism favours a system where there is a hierarchy of people gaining profit on the back of people whom are paid enough to keep them in a job however whom cannot move from one job to another easily enough. You pay a man a wage and also control him with the net result that corporations and large business gain power. Capitalism may have some benefits but by and large is it not the largest contributor to the issues we have at the moment in the world in terms of strife? No one need look any closer than to the US where there has been an inequal health care system, social welfare system and where minorities were treated like second class citizens for years. Large insurance companies own the vast tract of the health care market, social welfare is cut off after a year as people are expected to be wage slaves and large business is predominantly white. Capitalism itself has contributed to the cause of divisions within society with African Americans, Latinos and other minorities all being treated with disdain by large corporations in the pursuit of materialistic wealth. Access to housing, employment, education and other benefits is restricted to a large swathe of white America whom are intent on oppressing those whom they cant make a quick buck from. Israel has seized land from Palestinians in the hope of expanding to make a larger country, more resources means more profit and the pursuit of financial goals inflicts more misery on the people of Palestine.

The divisions that afflict such groups can be seen as to be beneficial to capitalists and their ilk. The worker that is not united is the worker that will not fight, that will not empower themselves and rise up and fight for the rights they are entitled to.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

The Assange Rape Case

Thanks to my friends on for pointing me in the direction of this. Naomi Wolf is a very competent journalist and has experience working with victims of rape and abused women. Have a read of the following article in which Naomi discusses the facts of the case that do not really add up. Makes for engaging reading:

Lets look at the charges against Assange. Assange is accused of four counts with two of the counts or allegations against him being serious (not my words but that of the Herald Sun in Australia : ) .

The first three allegations arise out of an encounter he had with the first woman, who has been publicly identified, but is widely known as Miss A.

Assange was staying with her in Stockholm, and they were having sex for the second time when she tried to reach for a condom.

At this point, she alleges, Assange pinned her to the bed using his body weight. He then released her and agreed to wear the condom. It then broke but they continued to have sex.

The article goes on to state

In both cases the women had consensual sex with Assange before things went bad, which makes things more murky in many people's minds.

But we should remember sexual assault or rape can start with consensual sex.

At which point during consensual sex does it not become consensual? Under Irish law I dont think this would have much standing would it?

Monday, 20 August 2012

The few lbs are going!

The last three months have been very successful weight wise. Thanks to weight watchers, Im now down nearly two stone so much so that I can fit back into a pair of waist 40 jeans , something I couldnt do for ten years! Reflecting on it, I have an addiction to food and there is a few reasons why . One was emotional eating, if I was bored or had a bad day in work I ate a lot of savoury food (curries and the like) and litres upon litres of coke . Changing the diet was one of the most challenging things I have done but it was also one of the easiest. Out went the coconut milk (the very very and I mean very rare time) as I love Thai food but the coconut milk was replaced with extra light Philadelphia. I cut back on portions of rice. Out the window went the full strength coke and in came the Pepsi Max (no calories at all). Combined with walking three miles approx every night the weight is falling off slowly but surely. All this has not meant I have stopped living. On the contrary. On a Saturday I do not count calories or exercise and I usually have a takeout and will indulge ina  lot of chocoloate but this is always playing at the back of my head! Its all a matter of changing habits and replacing bad habits with healthier ones. If anyone reading this is having trouble with weight gain or just wants a shoulder to cry on or advice of some sorts , give me a shout on facebook or twitter (my twitter is the easiest for most , its ). Onwards and upwards! Making a Korma tonight but with light cream and some lamb :)...

Revolution in a Modern Context

The world is in a state of flux at the moment with the working man coming under more pressure from the establishment to give up more of his wage and people being sidelined as the cogs of the capitalist machine roll on and on. The use of clichés can be forgiven as this is not a metaphor but in a lot of cases this is the actual situation that is taking place. Through years to come and in time that has passed , the more the working man is thrust into the mud, the angrier he becomes but how is this anger to be channelled directly?

Currently the energy is, rightly or wrongly directed at the state through marches and protests with the most notable being the Occupy Dame Street while garnering a lot of attention did not really achieve much bar a footnote in the Indo and pictures of protestors rolling out the same old clichés when questioned by journalists what they are about (it was akin to them having a book of stock answers that they would answer out of, heaven forbid they should think for themselves in a hive entity).  Most weeks Richie Boyd Barrett can be seen marching in the name of something or other and Ming can be seen tending to the needs of the bog cutters but is this revolution? Are these going to make a difference? From memory the only marches that stand out as being successful in Ireland is the march the pensioners took for medical cards. These marches only work when a whole community gets together (as did the African American community in America to fight for rights ).  On the other flip side of the coin is those whom call for a “bloody revolution”, a revolution of guns and for the blood of others to be spilled all in the name of achieving a goal of a socialist state. There must be a happy medium surely between these two?

Marching can only achieve so much, the net effect of marching as can be seen from the Occupy Dame St is that people are only tolerant of so much and the malaise of indifference can settle so much so , that really in the end no one cares. On the other hand a bloody revolution effects change quick but inflicts so much suffering and torture on the innocent, we have to question, is it really worth it? Is it worth spilling the blood of those whom we are intending to protect? This begs the question, how is a modern revolution going to work and if so how can it be done?

Rosa Luxembourg discussed the issue years ago and called for a revolution lead by the people with no leadership but that it must be a proletarian revolution.  This revolution must be led by the people and assume a role of spontenaiety , catch the bourgoise and the capitalists by surprise.  This can be explained in a modern context through the use of the internet. The internet acts as a tool in real time allowing people to work, in a lot of cases anonymously and in other cases not, to organise and create everything from a flash mob to hooligans and everything on the spectrum in between. The internet provides a powerful tool for creating a revolution by which we can effect change in this country. A mass movement by people to change the indifference that is suffered by others could very well move the proletariat forward. The government sees how unpopular they are and they themselves lose confidence and therefore lose the will to govern and call an election. Strikes can be called nationwide in order to get better working conditions for workers whom are struggling after numerous attacks on them by the current government.

A revolution is needed but it needs to be modern, it needs to effect change and will only work with the people on board.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Psychological Conditions - Dissociative Identity Disorder

In the series Lie to Me, a psychologist and his team are tasked with finding out people who are lying and getting the truth from them. In one particular episode a person is brought to their attention whom has Dissociative Identity Disorder in which the person is manifested with two or more personalities as distinct from having one which would be par for the norm in a lot of cases . The sympthoms of the disorder are behaviours outside what other people are aware of and the absence of alcohol, drugs and the lack of financial motive (pretending to be someone else for financial gain). There is no known cause of the disorder but one theory claims that it is from therapists using memory regression in order to gain memories from a childhood where alot of this would occur. A malfunction in the brain causes the child to disassociate himself from his old self thereby creating two identities for himself and a facade of sort.

More info on it can be found here:

This would go a long way towards explaining things like demonic posession or other similar situations where the person claims that they are occupied by more than one personality. The following case study shows the trauma that was suffered by a particular victim called Paula. Having suffered physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her parents, she formed a number of identites to protect her self.

It wasn’t until over a year later that Dr. Harpin was able to officially diagnose Paula with dissociative identity disorder. Dr. Harpin had just concluded a hypnosis session in an effort to help Paula regain her memory from one of her episodes of amnesia when Paula complained of an intense headache. Suddenly Paula seemed very disoriented. She did not know where she was, but she claimed that her name was Sherry and that she was thirty years old. It was later discovered in therapy that "Sherry" was created in order to protect Paula from suffering from the emotional trauma of her father’s sexual assaults

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Kids on LSD? Let is be...

Long the main stay of artists and hippies, LSD has gained a terrible reputation over the years as being a drug associated with long term psychosis and a disastarous effect on the development of personalities in people. LSD is extracted from the ergot fungus which grows in Rye and was first developed as a drug used to treat psychiatric patients in the 1940’s , however this was not met with much success. During the 1960’s, the CIA set up project MK Ultra to look into the effect the drugs may have on covert operations and as the effects were temporary there would be very little evidence afterwards of the drug in the system of the victim. The project was later abandoned after the unreliability of the drug and potentially the instability of the drug with it being subject to being destroyed quite easily by sunlight and oxygen, but should LSD be written off completely?

A recent article on website caught my attention where the author claims to have hacked his brain with an amphetamine called Adderall. In the article he cites how he took on new skills with new vigour after the drug enabled him to take on a new software package he wanted to upskill in. Does the same benefits apply to LSD or are there even more benefits? Read first on the uses of it medically and then creativelly below...

A 1950’s study of alcholocism in the UK came to the conclusion that LSD may be able to treat alcoholics a lot more successfully than the programme run by such rehabilitation units such as the AA etc. Rates of success in treatment of alcoholics using LSD was 50% vis a vis 10% with the success rate of AA (please see Wikipedia and accompanying links for more info). A 1960’s study by Eric Kaast also came to the conclusion that LSD had as much effect as that of opiates when given to cancer patients at a low dosage.The writer Aldous Huxley asked for a dosage on his death bed when he found out that he was dying from cancer and passed away peacefully in his bed having beign given an injection allegedly. Keeping this in mind this is just one of the benefits being touted alongside spiritual and creative needs (think Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds by the Beatles).The doors that can be opened through this drug are immense. DNA amplification was allegedly found through the discoverer being influenced through the use of LSD (Kary Mullins) ( and the same article discusses a programmer who claims he finds ways around programming issues through the use of the drug.

Users of the drugs have reported suffering from flashbacks however there is a lot of evidence that LSD and flashbacks are susceptible to the settings at the time and the mindframe of the person. Literature suggests that a person should be in a relaxed environment and be in a relaxed and non agitated frame of mind to experience a good trip and be secure in themselves to know anything they experience is a flashback/hallucination.

Creatively, spiritually, morally there is a compelling case here for the review of LSD and the scientific literature surrounding it and a strong case for it to be made legal. A recent House of Commons Review in the UK recently downgraded LSD from Grade A to Grade B . Perhaps if we let our 18/19 year olds throw caution to the wind when in college we may indeed stimulate young minds to come up with the answers to the problems of the world?